my thanks to steve schmidt, jim messina, tim miller, and zerlina maxwell. that does it for hour. i'm nicole wallace. mtp daily starts right now. >> let's start our beverages starting tomorrow. >> i didn't say until what, i said we're changing. >> fair enough. fair enough. we'll find out. i'm sure it will be fun on friday. >> start handing off 20 minutes early, you'll know what. >> i'll know why you're doing that. >> hardly anybody knows who everybody is talking about. >> good evening. i'm chuck todd here in washington. welcome to "mtp daily" and welcome to what should be a
constitutional crisis. there is either a soft coup underway inside the executive branch or the president is unfit for office. pick your poison. folks, it has been a wild day of fallout after an anonymous senior official, to "the new york times," in the trump administration wrote that explosive op-ed in "the new york times," describing a team of like-minded senior officials, who view the president as an impulsive, amoral, anti-democratic reckless danger of office he holds and the people he represents. reporters at axios say two senior administration officials reached out to them to say the author stole the words right out of their mouths. the phrase, quote, the sleeper cell is circulating. and the president and his allies are trying to smoke out who betrayed them. the president is demanding that "the times" must, for national security purposes, turn him or her over to government at once. "the times" is refusing to disclose this person's identity.
the who dun it speculation has unleashed a torrent of denials from senior officials and cabinet members, all claiming to, quote, shaggy, it wasn't me. and amid the chaos, the president is the angry, paranoid, and increasingly isolated. folks, we're not just getting this portrait of a president viewed unfit for office from "the times" alone. it's the same story from white house officials and trump advisers who speak to bob woodward or michael wolff, or who speak to reporters every day. or who write tell-alls after leaving the white house. or who say he directed them to commit a felony, and on and on and on. and the crisis is far from some fake news conspiracy. it's a reality that multiple republican senators say they're living with. to them, "the times" op-ed wasn't shocking. it was just another day. >> i don't think anything was relayed in that op-ed that was new. i think this is what all of us have understood to be this situation from day one.
>> i think the stuff that's in it is frankly not surprising to those of us who are trying to help the white house stay on track most days. this is what you hear from two-thirds of the senior people there. >> and there wasn't much new information there. i think there are those who would push back. >> you would expect them a soft coup. but house leadership today sounded as if it has no interest. >> does congress have any role to investigate who wrote "the new york times" op-ed? >> a role to investigate it. >> to find out who wrote the op-ed? >> not that i know of. if you're not interested in helping the president, you shouldn't work for the president, as far as i'm
concerned. >> i'm joined by tonight's panel, mark leibovich, an nbc contributor and correspondent for the "new york times" magazine and author of big game. danielle pletka is a vice president at the american institute and sahil kapur with bloomberg. and i have a mitch mcconnell response to the op-ed and he does his best bill belichick impression. here it is. >> were you surprised someone would feel this way and act that way? >> well, "the new york times" is putting stories all the time based on anonymous sources, so i guess this is just the most recent example of it. >> but it means that someone near the president is actively working against him inside the white house. are you surprised that someone would do that, rather than say resign publicly? >> yeah, i really don't have any further observations to make about it. >> on to cincinnati. >> i was doing going to say, th the mitch mcconnell way of saying, on to cincinnati. first of all, can i just like step back for a little reality
check here. the question that was just asked of the speaker of the house, paul ryan, no, it's not congress' job to try to suss out who the anonymous source of, you know, an op-ed is. come on, let's be real here. but having said that, to me, the big takeaway of all of this is the kind of blase response from three republican senators. now, these are republican senators that are somewhat people we've heard from again and again and again. but, i mean, you can't normalize something like this. >> no, but i guess, danny, i would -- i -- which path is it? is it a soft coup, where the unelected are running the country? or is the unfit for office, isn't that congress -- the second branch of government's job to figure out? >> well, there was -- there's always been discussion about whether donald trump was unfit for office. we have a constitution and we have a system for dealing with that. and those who have that power have chosen not to do so. so i think path "a," that you just described, is not the path that has been chosen. but on the other hand, the notion that there's this
self-appointed pretorian guard inside the white house, of righteous people, who are just stopping us from going over the brink with donald trump is -- well, first of all, it's offensive to american democracy. the piece -- i have a little bit of the same reaction, although not quite as great as mitch mcconnell, which was, you know, i'm sorry, what are you telling me that -- here that is new? the president has bad ideas, you talk him out of them. the president tells you to do stuff, you don't do them. okay, you're really a tribune of courage. if you were really a moral person, a person of courage, you would stand up, quit, and say these things and put your name next to it. >> and this is where it's dubious to call this a constitutional crisis, but a constitutional crisis is when there's a crisis that the law and constitution cannot resolve. and the president doesn't like people who are not working for him and not implementing his agenda, he can fire them. there's arguably a breakdown of checks and balances if people believe there should be an investigation and there aren't.
but there is a constitutional remedy for that. >> that's a fair point. they chose not to use the remedy. >> exactly. it's not that the constitutional system is broken down, it's that some people may not be using tools at their disposal, and voters in the midterm elections can choose. now, they will have to choose starkly. the contrast is between a party that will enable the president's impulses and his agenda and a party that will thwart his impulses and his agenda. there's no third option here, you can't mix and match, which is what this anonymous official seems to be trying to do. >> i -- you know, it's funny, there's been so many deep interpretations of this op-ed. one of my favorite machiavellianisms is that this is actually -- is this a -- hey, get out of jail free card for swing republican voters who are saying, don't worry, we've got this, or is it a message to the swing republican voters, oh, my god, it's worse than you think. and by the way, i have heard both interpretations. it's a rorschach test. >> it is, but also, this is a very hostile act towards the president of the united states from an underling. there is no question. there are any number of -- >> i don't like the c-word being
thrown around, but it's disconcerting that there's an unelected cabal of people who have taken it upon themselves to run the country. >> and look, there are always people in white houses who think they run the country and who talk like they run the country and who think that -- >> i'm in charge -- >> i'm in charge, and they think they're saving the country from modern "x," "y," and "z." but i just have to say, like, there are ways to enact your will against a president you disagree with. this, i think, just goes to the nth degree on just being -- i wouldn't say disloyal, because they would say that they're being very loyal. they're being loyal to the truth. but it's still quite a gesture. >> but it reinforce donald trump's paranoia, and that's really the side effect of this, that's so dangerous. the president goes around saying, there are secret people who are plotting against me. chuck todd -- chuck todd, dammit, you have been leading -- >> and here it is! >> and lo and behold, here are people in his own administration who are following that lead. i mean, and in the case of the person in his administration, he's right. >> he calls it the deep state. and this op-ed -- >> referred to it!
admitted it -- well, we're not deep state, we're steady state. >> we're steady state. >> well, by the way, that's in the eye of the beholder. you have now -- you have now confirmed the worst suspicion that the president has been putting out there. >> right. >> it's been interesting that the list of people who said, i didn't do it, i didn't do it, i didn't do it, which has made, and i think we have a scroll of it, but it has made the following fast -- here's the scroll. and i'll show you here in a minute. it's probably a list you have to be on. because you know, this president keeps score. but what this has done, with all of these denials is keep the following in mind. there was a front page story in the june 1974 "wall street journal" about who is deep throat? and the first anecdote, is about a gentlemen named mark felts who says, he isn't now nor has ever been deep throat. and in the story says, if i was, i wouldn't be telling you now. >> wow. >> i know, it's a fascinating -- no, no, the point is, that
somebody's denying it, probably did write it. >> yeah, with first of afirst o scroll thing is perfect for our time. it's almost like the no school announcements when you were a kid. turn on the tv and see this scroll -- >> who's with the president and who's in the -- you know, what did you call it? >> a pretorian guard. >> a pretorian guard. >> if and when we find out who this is, and this is one of these things, we'll either find out in a few days or we'll never find out, how's that for two extremes -- or maybe something in the middle -- >> that was very political pundit of you. >> i'm going to guess it could very well be a person on this scroll. and wow, they'll be totally disgraced because they lied to the scroll. h >> whoever wrote that, they almost seemed like they were on some level happy to be outed, that they have a contingency plan. if you want to do all of these things that they talk about, do them, find. but if you broadcast it to the public, there must be something else going on in your mind.
>> i'm going to be a pit sbit cl here, danny. we know that a lot of people who lost this administration can't get work. can't get the type of work you thought you could get after you left a white house. yes, maybe they can go to the hoover institute and condi will take care of them and things like that. but this feels like a, well, maybe, see, see, i was part of that crowd. and again, it's the cynic in me. >> and no, no, no. when you said that, i absolutely thought the same thing. we were talking about this before. there are people who, about whom it is now being speculated, who i know have already lost their jobs, senior administration officials who are staying in there until a successor is found. you know, the confirmation process is broken. white house personnel is broken. and so there are actually a lot of floaters in this -- >> so this -- so it's probably a floater. you think it's most likely to be somebody who's lost their job, but the public doesn't know it yet. >> positioning themselves, as sahil said, for a new job. >> and it's quite possible this ends up to be the blueprint for how the republican party negates or abandons president trump if
the tide moves away from him. i don't think it will. i think there's something lasting about the movement that he's building. but if it goes in the other direction, this is how they look at it. the conservative agenda, the tax cuts, deregulation, the judges are great, but all this other stuff is bad. >> now, he has a rally tonight in montana, so who knows what's going to happen, what he will say. but his reaction to this is still going to have a political impact. and i thought of all people, ben sasse today with hugh hewitt, i thought, expressed what i think is the real danger for the gop in november. take a listen. >> i mean, the drama of this op-ed, the drama of the woodward book, the drama of the omarosa tapes, the drama of cohen, the drama of manafort, the drama of just the three-ring circus that is the white house almost every day, i think that it exhausts the american people and i know that the founders would regard anything like this as, you know, really unhelpful. you don't run the country as a soap opera, and these people, most of them who are wanting the drama, shouldn't be anywhere near the presidency. and so most of the fighting that
he -- the president uses the word fighting all the time, but most of the fighting is inside his own team. >> he's definitely running. >> the key word -- well, yes. yeah. but it's the exhaustion. like, i think that this is what -- if i were an incumbent republican house member right now, i would be like, i could see somebody -- enough with the drama. just make it stop, right? and i don't know if democrats have it in them to just say, oh, we'll stop the drama. i don't know if they have that message. >> well, chaos and corruption. those are the two things they keep hearing over and over again from the democratic message people. and look, i think it's a very real thing that the white house keeps reinforcing every week. and whether it's exhausting or not, it does not exactly fill you with like a great feeling of serenity about the people who run your government. >> i don't think -- i mean, i'm not quite sure that ben sasse actually knows what the founders would have wanted or wouldn't have wanted, as much as i love ben sasse. but, i think the problem is really not just for the republican party. and this is an important point that we have to keep making, is it's also driving the democratic
party crazy. there is, there is a swing inside the democratic party, so that they also can no longer talk about real things. they are talking about buzz words, they are talking -- and who are they really talking about all the time? donald trump. that's all we all talk about, democrats, republicans. that is what's truly corrosive to the body of politics. >> trump has defined whatever -- down, and everybody's buying into the trump way of doing business, shock and awe, throw out a sleazy allegation without evidence and see what hits, see what sticks. that's the trump -- that's how -- he campaigned for three or four years, and now others are picking up this mantle left and right. >> there's no party that can break through that isn't about trump. you see ron desantis on one extreme. he's so, you know, not only loyal to him, but kind of infatuated with him. he's teaching his kid to say "bigly" in the crib. and democrats, they want to run on ideas, but the message of, i think, trump is overshad dough
all all of it. >> the democrats that have had success, whether it's doug jones or ralph northam or conor lamb, they've been genericfied in their own way. >> i have this theory we'll wake up the day after the election and you'll see a lot of candidate who is ran with ralph northam and doug jones' persona have done better than those that maybe were louder and more feisty. we'll see. maybe i'm wrong. i mean, that's the bet some are making. but that's the pattern that i feel like we've ignored. >> and that only gets you so far. >> it gets you through a lot -- >> in a midterm, angry can get you a lot in a midterm. >> that's true. >> it can. >> but after the midterms -- >> okay, we'll pause it. here up ahead, brett kavanaugh under the microscope. the second day of the supreme court confirmation hearings and they're just as heated as day one. ♪ this is a story about mail and packages. and it's also a story about people. people who rely on us every day to deliver their dreams they're handing us more than mail
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we say "some," not a lot, but tensions spiked late last night and again today. democrats grilled kavanaugh on the russian probe and escalated a fight with republicans over access to documents. i'm joined now by utah republican senator mike lee, a member of the senate judiciary committee, and senator lee, good to see you, sir. thanks for taking a break. >> good to be with you. >> i know, look, the dustup over documents feels like a lot of political theater, so i would, instead, want to ask about last night. because you were involved in some of the -- interrupting the back and forth between senator kamala harris and mr. kavanaugh.
so i want to begin by showing that exchange, where harris asked kavanaugh if he had discussed the mueller probe with anyone, including people at the law firm founded by the president's attorney. take a listen. >> how can you not remember whether or not you had a conversation about robert mueller or his investigation with anyone at that law firm? this investigation has only been going on for so long, sir. so please answer the question. >> i'm not sure -- i'm just trying to think, do i know anyone who works at that firm. i might know -- >> have you had -- that's not my question. my question is, have you had a conversation with anyone at that firm about that investigation. it's a really specific question. >> i would like to know if there's -- >> i think you're thinking of something you don't want to tell us. >> well, she never did reveal that. she's questioning him later today. maybe that will be cleared up
today. he finally got a chance to answer that question. >> i've never given anyone any hints, forecasts, previews, winks, nothing about my view as a judge or how i would rule as a judge on that or anything related to that. >> all right, senator. there's a lot of lead up, but i felt like viewers had to see all of that. let me ask you this. the word "inappropriate," that is what mr. kavanaugh used. what does -- when he says he didn't have any inappropriate conversations about the mueller probe, what did that tell you? what did that mean to you? >> to me, it meant any conversations that would trigger his recusal, either a judge sitting on the u.s. court of appeals for the d.c. circuit or should he be confirmed to the u.s. supreme court. in other words, nothing delving underneath the surface of, oh, how about that mueller probe or something like that. what i objected to last night was the insinuation that number
one, this was somehow a very specific question, when, in fact, she was talking about a law firm that has 350 lawyers and nine different offices across the united states. and you know, he's got many dozens of former law clerks. he's got hundreds of close friends who are lawyers, including law school classmates. any of whom might move from one firm to another. and i think it's important that when we ask a witness a question, we give them the ability to ascertain what exactly it is that they're answering. >> look, what is that line to you where appropriate becomes inappropriate? and look, i imagine it's subjective, a bit, as far as many of you are concerned. is it, if you're asked advice about how do you -- how would you make the case that a president couldn't be criminally indicted? does that become inappropriate? >> i suspect it would. there was symptom follow up conversation later today in the hearing. i believe somebody asked him some additional questions about anybody he's talked to at the firm. he identified one or two people
he knows there and indicated that he hasn't discussed the mueller probe with them. he can't think of anybody who works at that firm, with whom he's discussed this case. >> why shouldn't he recuse himself, with anything having involvedi involving mueller and the president. there's a lot of sort of layman here, senator lee. there's a lot when it comes to the constitution, you think in those terms all the time. people may agree or disagree, but you ground yourself in that. why shouldn't brett kavanaugh be recusing himself if the person who appointed him is in the middle of a potential criminal investigation? >> look, recusal decisions are very personal and they're also very case specific. i don't want to purport to speak for or on behalf of judge kavanaugh, who could become justice kavanaugh, that's really a decision for him to make and not for me or anybody else. >> well, what would be appropriate for you? you're somebody that's -- you are somebody that some people thought could be a federal judge
or a supreme court justice. what would be your line? >> look, i don't know. we have, in the past, had people who have been appointed by the sitting incumbent president, who have then heard cases involving an action taken by that president. not necessarily a criminal action, but -- >> justice kagan, right? justice kagan recuses herself quite a bit on cases that she worked on as solicitor general. >> right. and did not recuse herself from nfib versus sivilius, regarding obamacare. recusal is a case-specific, fact-specific determination and it has to be made by the jurist at the moment the decision has to be rendered. so i'm not going to purport to speak for judge kavanaugh here. >> in that sense, i'm asking where your line is. i get that, i know people don't want to speak for others. i know that's a dangerous game. >> one of my favorite law
professors was a brilliant professor named fred gettus. he used to say, when you have a difficult line to draw in the law under some difficult legal standard, you draw the line at seven. and i asked, what is seven? and he said, that's exactly the question. the determination surrounding recusal -- >> really good there. >> -- has to do with whether or not the jurist would have his or her impartiality compromised under the totality of his circumstances. whether the appearance, the potential, or the reality of a conflict of interest could trigger that. >> i want to talk about some of the new e-mails that have been released from brett kavanaugh. do you believe they reveal his views on abortion and race? >> no. and i would like to know more about what e-mails specifically you're referring to, but i do believe that brett kavanaugh, having served in a variety of positions within the government has written a lot of opinions providing legal analysis on what arguments might work and what arguments might not work. i don't think any of those
signals -- i haven't seen a signal e-mail that would pin him down on how he would rule on any specific case. >> if you didn't think he would vote to overturn roe v. wade, would you still vote for brett kavanaugh? >> i don't have a litmus test. there is no single litmus test that determines which person i would vote for. i'm going to vote for him, because i believe that he will call the balls and strikes as he sees them. i believe he will spreinterpret law on the basis of what it says and the basis of what towards themselves say and what they mean, and how they were understood at the time they were adopted. that's what we're looking for. >> why do you believe brett kavanaugh has avoided saying that roe v. wade was correctly decided? instead, i think, said it was a super precedent? >> the canons of judicial ethics prohibit the candidate for judicial office from speculating on how he or she might rule on a case that might come before the court to which the person is being appointed.
and it's understandable and it's with great precedent that he declines to say exactly how he would rule in any case. whether it involves [ inaudible ] something else. >> i've got to ask you quickly about the op-ed. and a role for kocongress here this respect, senator, there's really only one of two conclusions, perhaps, to draw from this op-ed. there's a soft coup inside the executive branch, or there's a whole bunch of people who say the president's unfit. at the end of the day, there's a second branch of government. should the second legislative branch of government want to know what the reality is here? >> we should want to know in the sense that we're curious. i'm terribly curious about who wrote that. personally, with i think it's really weird. i think it's goofy for somebody to be inside the administration. this person is characterizing him or herself as being a high-level senior official within the administration. and while purporting to have some strange allegiance to the administration, is also working actively to undermine that staple administration.
that's an odd thing to do. i think the better thing for that person to do, if they feel that way, is to resign and state their objections, state their reasons for leaving. >> anything in that op-ed ring true to you? you were not the biggest donald trump fan during the 2016 race. >> look, i don't know what's going on the inside, nor theion whether this person is, in fact, a high-level administration official or what exactly the standard is for determining that. in any administration, you're going to have differences of opinion. what's different about this one is that this person is expressing it once, a weird form of allegiance to the administration or to the cause of the administration and also a defiant opposition to the president himself. i think that's very strange. and it seems to me to be unethical for this person to be working actively to undermine the president, while purporting to serve that president. >> senator lee, i'm with you,
it's very strange, and yet it seems in this era, it's just another day that ends in "y." republican senator mike lee of utah, thanks for coming on and sharing your views. back to your hearing. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> you got it. coming up, the op-ed, it came from inside the house. while everybody is talking about who, i'm asking another question. why? ♪ hungry eyes ♪ one look at you and i can't disguise ♪ ♪ i've got hungry eyes ♪ i feel the magic between you and i ♪ ♪ i've got hungry eyes ♪ now i've got you in my sights ♪ applebee's new 3-course meal starting at $11.99. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. you may be learning about, medicare and supplemental insurance. medicare is great, but it doesn't cover everything ...only about 80% of your part b medicare costs. a medicare supplement insurance plan may help cover some of the rest.
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tennessee. they're defying conventional wisdom a little bit. phil bredesen is up with two points over marsha blackburn. bredesen has a slight lead. for instance, the republican party as a whole has an eight-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot in tennessee. president trump enjoys approval rating of 47% above his national average. and bill lee has a 13-point lead over his democratic competitor. so this is in a sort of dem-skewing poll that shows every democrat doing well. it basically just shows phil bredesen doing well. so if republicans are looking good in tennessee, how the heck is phil bredesen in the lead? well, it's all about his personal brand. 61% of likely tennessee voters have a favorable comparison of bredesen. that's a big crazy number and quite an impressive spread in 2018 for any candidate this year. bredesen's record is a fairly
moderate, sort of center-left two-term governor is keeping him afloat in a sea of red. i'm not saying that all politics is national this cycle, but these numbers may show that even in a republican state, democrats have a shot at winning a state-wide race, if they actually are well-liked locally. remember, same story as we had with joe donnelly in indiana yesterday. we'll be back with more "mtp daily" right after this. tely nog an annual fee. discover has no annual fees. really? yeah. we just don't believe in them. oh nice. you would not believe how long i've been rehearsing that. no annual fee on any card. only from discover. ♪ as moms, we send our kids out into the world, full of hope. and we don't want something like meningitis b getting in their way. meningococcal group b disease, or meningitis b, is real.
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welcome back to "mtp daily." as seemingly everyone continues to speculate about who wrote the anonymous or unnamed, we should say -- somebody does know who this person is -- "new york times" op-ed, there's another question i would like to ask, why. why did this unnamed author write an op-ed that seemingly undermines his or her effort to see this administration succeed. if the goal is to keep the president under control, why do something that seems designed to make him out of control? why write it now? as the senate begins the confirmation process for brett kavanaugh, supreme court nominee, praised by many conservatives, why did "the new york times" agree to publish an
anonymous op-ed that has us asking all of these questions with very little hope of getting answers anytime soon. with me now is margaret sullivan, she's the media columnist for "the washington post," and a former public editor of the "new york times." she is joining along with my panel that's still here, mr. leibovich, miss pletka and mr. kapur. margaret sullivan, i want to start by throwing a tweet back at you. yesterday, you said, i think something along the effects of, boy, i'm glad to be the former -- it's a good day not to be the public editor of the "new york times," that's what it was. okay! what would your lead be if you were the public editor of the "new york times"? how would you be tackling this? >> well, i actually did write a column about it today for "the washington post," and although it's not a typical public editor column, where you're trying to do something different, which is sort of internal refereeing, i did come to the conclusion that i had no problem with the "new york times'" publication of this
piece. i think it was irresistible in some ways. and i also think that it had significant news value. it was newsworthy. the complaint i have is, as you said, with the writer of it, who i think, you know, reasonably, you could apply the word "gutless" to it, that while there's a message there, it's not exactly a new message, and i think it's one that would have been much more effective with a name behind it, as with so many things. >> why do you assume it's newsworthy? and i say this for this reason. it's news -- to me, it's newsworthy, depending on the title of this person. what if it's just a midlevel political appointee? does that make it newsworthy? i mean, i -- that's a question i have. >> well, obviously, the farther up the food chain this person is, the more newsworthy it is. we're told that it's a senior administration official and i don't think "the new york times" would throw that phrase around lightly. so i think it is someone fairly high up.
and i think -- >> some have argued that "the times" has thrown that title around lightly. i mean, that would be, that would be one of the e-mails that you'd be getting a lot of from readers saying, hey, what is "the new york times" definition of a senior administration official, and is there -- you know, how deep does that go? >> well, right. chuck, i think we're going to find out sooner than later. and i strongly suspect that it will be sooner. i don't have reason to think that, but i believe it will. and i think we're going to recognize the name and that it will be someone fairly high up. and for that reason, i think that the kinds of things that were said and the voice that the person said it in, which was very personal, i think, very egotistical, you know, makes it highly newsworthy. >> there's a "new york times" magazine writer here. and i figured, mark leibovich, ask margaret sullivan what you would want to know on the reporter side of this. to me, it's an interesting little issue between the news side and the opinion side. >> uh, yeah.
i mean, i will just tell you, within our newsroom today, we are speculating just like any other, i assume, newsroom is speculating, just like you are speculating now. you are, i mean, it seems almost obvious to say at this point, butter completely in the dark. we've asked all the questions that we are asking here, and so i guess that's a long-winded way of saying, i have nothing to add on that. but, sure. i guess the thought exercise on the question is, is it gutless or not? the thought exercise is, all right, what if this person puts a name on this. he or she probably would get fired, like, immediately. >> probably have death threats. >> well, there would be that whole gamut of things. and, well, then we would know who they are -- >> -- that what you're saying? >> i think they would have a great pundit deal. >> we talked about this during the break -- >> but actually, no, did this completely through the front door. just said, i'm going to the "new york times." and i don't even want to name a hypothetical person -- >> i don't either. >> the two intriguing questions that i have about this and that i've heard actually discussed is, first, how different is it than "the times" or "the post"
or my publication, bloomberg publishing, you know, firsthand accounts from anonymous sources in the midst of a story from people in the white house were talking and offering their views about the president? and the second is, it's not the first time that any of our publications have published stories that we think are newsworthy, but we wonder, why in the world did this person say that or do that or what is their motive, which also seems to be the case here. >> but there's a real circular problem in d.c. right now. part of it is that the trump administration feels so beleaguered, in some cases, we agree, rightly, and obviously, in some cases, wrongly, because of their conspiracy theories. but because of that, there's so much gossip, there's so much speculation, and i can tell that i have repeated things that i have heard and then i've had them repeated back to me. and that's the thing that i worry about with this anonymous sourcing is, you know, two guys, i have two sources. well, yeah, okay, they were the two guys i just told, so, you know. >> margaret sullivan, i'm curious, what do you tell the reader who sits there and goes, yeah, yeah, mark leibovich claims he doesn't know.
how is it that they don't -- i don't buy it! "the new york times," yes, they claim there's a firewall between news and opinion and you've worked there. i know there is, too. i know james bennett. i know deane bacay, i know how that works. and from a public perception standpoint, and you're the public editor, that's tough to defend. >> yeah, people have a hard time believing that, that at last really a wall between opinion and news. and you know, i think we all understand, that while there is a separation and that there are two separate departments, that there are also people who work for the same institution, they talk to each other. in this case, reportedly, dean bacay was not told and may want know who this person is. i mean, that does strain credulity, just a little bit, to think the executive editor doesn't know. but he may not. if he does know, it certainly puts him in a tough position with his reporters, who presumably are trying to chase this story. so, you know, there's a lot
of -- and if "the new york times" ends up breaking the story about who this person is -- >> well, then -- >> then you've got some real -- you've got some real issues, which is why i think it would be terrific if "the washington post" broke this story. >> but mark leibovich, you can't break this story, can you? margaret's right. margaret sullivan's right. nobody would believe -- >> because i'm not promoting a book. >> yeah, we'll find out what the public editor thinks of that, promoting a book instead of breaking news. >> that's true. i should be finding who wrote that -- no, look. i mean, if -- it creates a lot of complicated decisions, you know, up the tree. here, i will punt. i don't want know. these decisions will be made at some point. i don't know how hotly they're pursuing that anymore than "the washington post" -- >> i really believe that -- i think that if the story -- i believe that if "the times" reporters are able to determine, independently, who this person is, i can't imagine anyone at "the new york times" pulling them back from running that story. i think it would have to be sent
to the lawyers and i know it would be. but, i think the lawyers would find a way to make it publishable. and that would be the right thing. >> all right. but i got to ask you an ethics question, just and it's the last question. this is what i'm struggling with. if this person is pretty high up, okay, and they're saying these things, and they're essentially talking about the 25th amendment and all of this, this is, at what point does "the new york times" have a duty to share this with the public? >> i mean, they've made a commitment. the opinion side of the "new york times" has made a commitment not to reveal this person's identity, and i think they have to stay with that. you know, the news side is in a completely different situation and could and should reveal it. when they know. but not from the opinion side people. >> well, a tough firewall to figure out where it actually sits and whether it is effective. margaret sullivan at "the
washington post" now, as a media claimi is columnist, thanks for coming on. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> all right, panel, you have to stick around. up ahead, there's a primary today. all eyes are on, of course, delaware! delaware? how often do we say that? >> delaware! hi. i mean, delaware. [phone ringing] need a change of scenery? the kayak price forecast tool tells you whether to wait or book your flight now. so you can be confident you're getting the best price. giddyup! kayak. search one and done. hundred roads named "park" in the u.s. it's america's most popular street name. but allstate agents know that's where the similarity stops. if you're on park street in reno, nevada, the high winds of the washoe zephyr could damage your siding.
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delaware. and we could see a very big upset tonight, as another establishment democrat faces a challenge from the left. three-term senator, tom car per, is being challenged by carrie harris. an she's an air force veteran, community activist, and lbgt woman of color. carper has never lost a race in his 40 years during his time in office, which includes his time as governor. but he may be feeling the heat, at least enough to turn to his longtime former colleague, joe biden, to record a is robo call and a radio ad on his behalf late in the campaign. this race comes just two days after iyayanna presley upset in texas. and we can't forget the victory in new york back in june. all of them sort of low turnout contests, not a lot of other action, just -- i'm just saying, i'm just saying. if carper loses today, it won't be because he didn't see it coming, though. he actually has seen it coming,
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. welcome back, time now for "the lid." the panel is back. we're going to do a little football, but it's not football, it's politics, it's the culture wars. football is on tonight. obviously your book comes out, and nike comes out with the colin kaepernick ad. we've now seen the just do it campaign, and they're going to have an ad tonight, the nfl, on nbc begins tonight with the falcons/eagles. and nike has made the decision to essentially challenge the nfl by putting this essentially on their highest rated regular season game of the year. >> what's amazing is that -- essentially nike and donald trump are filling the vacuum of
sort of bold leadership on this issue that the nfl is absolutely not -- >> that's a great way of putting it. nike and donald trump -- >> the nfl has been all over the map on this. still a few hours to the kickoff to the season has no idea how to handle this issue. nike weighs in, trump has weighed in throughout the week, and, you know, the thing -- i mean, look, i wrote about football for a few years, to escape politics. >> waving the bloody shirt, politicizing patriotism is the american way, sadly, we've been doing it from the very beginning. that's essentially what this is. the mixing of race, and the politicization of patriotism. >> the american people have the right to do whatever they want in this regard and so does colin
kaepernick. what offends me is i work in national security, and i have all my life. i know people who have sacrificed everything, men, women, children, mothers, fathers, people in our military, i'm sorry, colin, you are not sacrificing everything. >> who are you angry at, him or nike? >> i'm angry at all of them. i think it's unbelievely unseemly, inappropriate, without perspective. whatever gesture you want, you live in america, and you're lucky as hell to do it. the people who make real sacrifices for you are the people who do that, not the people who take the knee. >> it's there compulsion to have someone like colin kaepernick on any of its teams, the same way facebook does to platforming. deplatforming is one that should cut across the board. if you want to defend alex jones and say he has a right to speak does the president of the united states have the moral right to
use his bully pulpit to deplatform an nfl player? >> you've got at the heart of this, we're seeing conservatives complain, or -- mostly. it's a new sort of fox campaign. >> it's a trumpian issue. >> it's about social media. but you're right, what they want on social media they don't want in the field in the nfl. >> also, you know, seven nfl owners gave a million dollars to donald trump's inauguration, political giving and so forth. you could have a that conversation. >> this just in, twitter apparently permanently banned -- >> that's amazing. we saw that during the break. >> a debate about whether that's valid or right or wrong, twitter has the right to do it. >> they're a private company. >> this is the nfl. >> i do struggle in all of these issues, it's like, look, there are crazy voices that have no fol win followings. as soon as a crazy voice gets a following, you ban them. this is a tough decision for private ins institutions to
make, danny. >> the claims of bias that conservatives make about twitter and these platforms are well borne out. but to take something that isn't highly political, what are the anti-semites doing on twitter? why are they allowed a platform, but someone who is -- as odious as, you know, we can all agree as alex jones, somehow not okay. and why does twitter get to be the arbiter of it? i guess they're a private company, and do what you want. >> what is -- dinesh da souza is disgusting to a lot of people. this is the door that's been opened on social media that i think none of the companies wanted to have to deal with. >> it's a fair question. it's a tough one to have to draw the line somewhere. they have the enforce it consistently. one of the big criticisms they've gotten is from people who don't think they're enforcing their standards consistently. where do you draw the line?
is it abusive behavior? not an easy question. >> these are big, hairy and not fun questions. that's the real, i mean, concern that the nfl has. they want this to be -- and football is a respite. that's their big marketing plan. we want you to escape from real life and politics. good luck with that, right? >> that's -- that ship sailed years ago. all right, guys -- >> never mind. >> quite an hour, thank you, thank you, mark. congrats on the book. danny, thank you. sahil, always a pleasure, we'll be right back. how can we say when you book direct at choicehotels.com
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tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with a lot more "mtp daily." "the beat" with ari melber starts right now. ari, i was told today if i didn't quote a little shaggy to you, i wasn't doing my job. as you know, everybody in the administration is singing shaggy. >> it wasn't me. chuck, anytime you're quoting shaggy is an interesting day, i guess it depends what's being denied. >> there you go. our top two stories on "the beat" tonight, democrats throwing down in ways we may have never seen on the judiciary committee before to try to stop trump's supreme court nominee. a member joins me later this hour, it is important. also, the other top story, you probably know what it is, these reports of an ominous boiling point inside the white house, donald trump being reportedly described as